If you accept the premise that every student can and should learn and that learning should be measurable, then Paonia Elementary's laser focus on student growth makes perfect sense.
The staff doesn't focus on how much students know, but on how much students learn. Student learning can be measured in a number of ways, but all Colorado schools are required to teach to the state standards and therefore, growth on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) is the bar by which schools in this state are compared.
Paonia Elementary School (PES) has and continues to compare very favorably by that standard. One tool PES uses to motivate students to work hard and always give their best is Eagle Tags. This year's Eagle Tag assembly occurred on March 22, the Friday before 2019 state testing began.
Now that this year's state testing has wrapped up, it is appropriate to recognize those who received Eagle Tags for their 2018 growth. To achieve high growth, which is considered 65 percent or higher, students are competing only against themselves and their results from the previous year. Since PES celebrates all growth, students who joined the school from other schools in the state, for whom they were able track down growth data, were also recognized. Additionally, third grade students who took the state test for the first time, as well as fourth grade students who took the social studies exam and fifth grade students who took the science exam cannot be recognized for growth, because the state only has one year of data.
Students who demonstrated high growth in English Language Arts (ELA) and received a red Eagle Tag this year were (growth percentage in parenthesis): Cooper Booth (65), Zariah Dennison (84), Mason Kenniger (98), Avery Kinser (97), Lily Lowe (97), Raelee Meyers (98), Abby Roberts (69), Jasmine Vasquez (98), Taylor Wist (99), Peyton Armstrong (94), Landon Cook (83), Caleb Ferguson (79), Joel Frazier (83), Austin Funk (84), Mario Gamma (69), Heidi Johnson (70), Connor Kinser (98), Giovanna Luna (90), Cameron McCann (71), Jilli Mills (92), Izzy Pack (81), Edwin Pantoja-Torres (86), Ryaunna Rhoades (75), Michael Roach (75), Contessa Sprinkle (68), Sara Washburn (77), Kohen Booth (88), Mariah Callen (72), Marcos Camacho (99) Elle Deja Connolly (94), Chance Degraffenried (80), Ella Eves (99), Ember Ferguson (70), Ryder Hart (96), Deonte Huff (96), Avi Maya (83), Alissa McCollum (68), Sheldon Nichols (89), Josiah Peters (78), Emily Reedy (79), James Roach (77), Marty Roach (95), Alex Simpson (98), and Kelly Thliveris (91).
Students who demonstrated high growth in math and received a black Eagle Tag were (growth percentage in parenthesis): Lane Arterburn (68), Brylan Cotton (84), Avery Kinser (81), Raelee Meyers (84), Angel Montes (70), Charlie Taylor (76), Jasmine Vasquez (77), Skylar Anderson (93), Peyton Armstrong (99), Landon Cook (67), Caleb Ferguson (95), Joel Frazier (87), Austin Funk (93), Mario Gamma (88), Brooke Harding (70), Heidi Johnson (89), Elias Keil (74), Connor Kinser (65), Gracelynn Lubin (97), Killian Mazon (96), Izzy Pack (99), Edwin Pantoja-Torres (80), Sara Washburn (87), Dennis White (65), Lane Allen (79), Marcos Camacho (99), Chance Degraffenried (75), Ella Eves (80), Ryder Hart (88), Dylan Kasper (96), Jose Mojarro (75), Sheldon Nichols (77), Josiah Peters (71), Nayeli Sanchez (85), and Alex Simson (75).
PES believes that if you focus on growth, achievement will take care of itself. To that end, PES does recognize those that exceed expectations in any CMAS subject area, but it is important to note that all PES students fourth through sixth grade who exceeded expectations in ELA or math also demonstrated high growth in those subjects. The students recognized for exceeding expectations in ELA were: Riley Abney, Zariah Dennision, Avery Kinser, Lily Lowe, Jasmine Vasquez, Taylor Wist, Joel Frazier, Giovanna Luna, Jilli Mills, Izzy Pack, Lane Allen, Mariah Callen, Elle Deja Connolly, Ella Eves, Ryder Hart, Josiah Peters and Kelly Thliveris. Students recognized for exceeding expectations in Math were: David Audelo Garcia, Tia Homedew, Joel Frazier, Izzy Pack, Lane Allen, and Ryder Hart. Students recognized for exceeding expectations in Science were Giovanna Luna and Izzy Pack. Avery Kinser was the one student recognized for exceeding expectations in social studies.
Pictured are the current PES fifth and sixth grade students who demonstrated high growth and were present for the ceremony. Although the current sixth grade class is larger than the fifth grade, it is common that the number of recipients increases by grade level, which is another solid sign of growth. The PES Eagle Tags for the 22 current seventh grade students were sent up to Paonia Junior/Senior High School.